DEA Hopes to Remove a Third of a Million Pounds of Expired Prescription Drugs from Circulation on It


The public has embraced the opportunity these Take-Back Day events provide to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs. Local law enforcement agencies in thousands of American communities have partnered with the DEA in the previous five events that have taken place since September 2010.

"Everything we do is geared toward protecting American families and communities," said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart. "We know that young people consider controlled-substance prescription drugs, like Vicodin, to be a safer way to get high, but they couldn't be more wrong. By removing unwanted prescription drugs from their homes, the public helps prevent experimentation, addiction, overdose and even death."

Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high--more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroincombined, according to the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, according to surveys of users.

The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the "Got Drugs?" icon, and following the links to a database where they enter their zip code. Only solid medicines may be turned in. No liquids, injectables or needles will be accepted.

Four days after DEA's first Take-Back event 30 months ago, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an "ultimate user" of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents' controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is in the process of finalizing regulations to implement the Act.


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